Blessing of the Animals

Today is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, and in many places this is commemorated with an annual Blessing of the Animals in local churches. But Fluffy, Fido, and Goldie will have to wait until the weekend. Washington National Cathedral holds its ceremony on Sunday, October 7th, at 2:30 pm, on the west steps. In Woodley Park (our neighborhood) there is a choice between the front lawn of All Souls Episcopal Church on Saturday, October 6th at 3 pm, and St. Thomas Apostle at 10:30 am (where there will also be coffee and donuts for the people and treats for the animals). A Google search will undoubtedly reveal a blessing near you.

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Today is also the birthday of writer and humorist Roy Blount, Jr., author of several books suitable for this day (as well as many other books on a wide variety of subjects): I Am Puppy, Hear Me Yap: The Ages of Dog; I Am the Cat, Don’t Forget That: Feline Expressions; Am I Pig Enough for You Yet?: Voices of the Barnyard; and If Only You Knew How Much I Smell You: True Portraits of Dogs. He is also a contributor to Unleashed: Poems by Writers’ Dogs, a gift for anyone who loves both dogs and poetry.

For a sketch, a riddle, and a mini-bio of Blount, please see Language Lover.

The old year now away is fled

HappyNewYearLitPud

The old year now away is fled,
The new year it is entered;
Then let us all our sins downtread,
And joyfully all appear.
Let’s be merry be this holiday
And let us run with sport and play
Hang sorrow, let’s cast care away—
God send us a merry new year!
—English, 13th century

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Rainy Day Joys (Left Side)

What a pleasure to have a mostly-rainy week whose only rhythms are three daily meals and walking the dog. (And many hands make light work.) Early walks, followed by a little recorder, or sketching, or a game of cards, or curling up with a book. With a pot of split pea soup simmering on the stove.

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The Secret of the New Jersey Town

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This spring we visited Maplewood, New Jersey, where my husband grew up. In exploring his old haunts, like the town library, we discovered that Maplewood, New Jersey is the Home of Nancy Drew! (The library carries the entire collection.) Not to mention the Bobbsey Twins, and the Hardy Boys, and Tom Swift! I don’t see how my husband could have lived there all those years without realizing he was sharing his home town with so many celebrities. (Actually, with the publisher of their series.) I think he was busy reading the Horatio Hornblower stories.

Well, with a daughter making her way through the Nancy Drew books, he now has total Nancy Drew Awareness. Here they are having some father-daughter-dog time. I’m fairly sure he’s awake. My husband, not the dog.

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